F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2024 – Leclerc tops FP1 with Verstappen on the ropes

Follow all the action on the Total Motorsport live blog as teams and drivers head to Imola for FP1 at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix


Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com F1 live blog for Free Practice 1 at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, coming to you LIVE from the paddock at Imola as the 2024 Formula 1 season continues on into Europe for the summer.

Imola, with its 4.909-kilometer track length, is renowned for its high-speed straights, technical corners, and unforgiving chicanes, demanding the utmost precision and bravery from drivers. The circuit features 19 corners, each presenting a unique challenge, from the fast-flowing Variante Tamburello to the tight and twisty Acque Minerali, especially given the unique anti-clockwise direction of the track.

FP1 is scheduled for 13:30 local time in Imola, with all eyes on Ferrari who have brought a significant upgrade package to the Emilia Romagna GP as they look to further close the gap on Red Bull who have dominated the 2024 F1 season thus far.

The FP1 session for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP promises to be an intriguing session so stay tuned as we bring you real-time updates, insights, and analysis from FP1. From lap times and sector splits to driver feedback and team strategies, we’ll cover all the action as it unfolds. Join us as we kick off the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP weekend with this crucial practice session at the historic Imola circuit!

Emilia Romagna GP 2024 FP1 Imola Updates and News

SESSION OVER: Charles Leclerc tops tight FP1 field

It’s a great start to Ferrari’s weekend as Charles Leclerc leads all 20 drivers in the opening practice session of the weekend by setting a 1:16.990 in his upgraded car to lead Mercedes’ George Russell by just over a tenth.

Of course, we don’t know power modes or fuel loads or how much the driver is pushing but that’s very encouraging for the Silver Arrows, who also have Lewis Hamilton within half a second of Ferrari’s time as their upgrades appear to be working more.

Carlos Sainz rounded out the top three ahead of both Red Bulls, who struggled throughout the session. Especially Max Verstappen who kept making a plethora of mistakes in FP1. Will he be able to get his car fixed for the second session later?

1 minute to go: Verstappen into the gravel again!

Acque Minerali, Turns 11, 12 and 13, catches Max Verstappen once again as his Red Bull bottoms out and he goes straight on into the gravel again to possibly destroy another set of soft tyres.

The Red Bull isn’t behaving as it usually does with a new floor and other upgrades and Max Verstappen is far from pleased, comfortable or at his usual standard. Everyone else on the grid will be delighted to see that so far.

6 minutes to go: MASSIVE moment for Max Verstappen

The Dutchman was, more or less, on the same pace as Charles Leclerc’s 1:16.990 but then at Turn 14 he has a massive snap of oversteer as he turns into the chicane and he has to catch the car.

Bailing out across the gravel, the defending world champion is far from pleased with the FP1 performance. On a weekend when he’s already worried about Ferrari’s car too.

7 minutes to go: Red Bull show up but Verstappen’s not happy

Red Bull now move to 4th and 5th fastest, around 0.25 off the pace, but Max Verstappen still isn’t happy as he trails Sergio Perez. He’s especially complaining about Turn 11 and how he can’t handle the corner, blaming the brakes for running wide.

15 minutes to go: Max Verstappen pits with a reliability issue

Max Verstappen’s tear-off from his visor gets stuck in his brake duct so he pits to allow Red Bull to remove it to prevent overheating or any fires. Irritating for the world champion, rather than a serious concern.

In fact, the whole session for Verstappen can be described as irritating as he sits in eighth, behind Sergio Perez, and almost a second off the pace set by the two Ferraris.

Lewis Hamilton spins

Lewis Hamilton hits the inside kerb at Turn 11 and 12 and goes for a spin, a lot of luck and good car control helps him keep his Mercedes out of the wall as Toto Wolff doesn’t seem too impressed. What did Fred Vasseur think?

Hamilton is 5th overall right now, with his teammate in second.

25 minutes to go: Leclerc fastest overall

Charles Leclerc is fastest overall as he heads George Russell and Carlos Sainz.

4. Yuki Tsunoda

5. Lewis Hamilton

6. Oscar Piastri

7. Sergio Perez

8. Max Verstappen

9. Lance Stroll

10. Daniel Ricciardo

Turns 17 and 18 claiming lots of cars

Turns 17 and 18, known as Rivazza, have been grabbing a lot of cars into the gravel traps. A McLaren and Mercedes have both dipped a wheel into the stones, whilst an RB goes too deep into the downhill corner and locks up for a trip across the gravel.

It could be because it’s windy today, but is that something to watch out for in qualifying?

Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari look good

Mercedes are trailing Ferrari by around a tenth at the moment as Lewis Hamilton is third behind Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as they seem like they’ve taken a bit of a step forwards again, although it is only FP1.

McLaren have been up there too, showing they have good pace once again. Lando Norris does think Imola suits them but at the moment Ferrari are the team to beat at one of their home circuits.

Red Bull are a second off the pace!

32 minutes to go: GREEN FLAG

Albon’s stricken Williams is cleared by the marshals and the session is back underway. Charles Leclerc is now fastest with a 1:17.438.

Timings halfway through the session

RED FLAG: Alex Albon OUT of the session

The Williams’ Mercedes engine simply loses power and drive and Albon climbs out of the car. That’s a bad start to his weekend.

“It’s just shut down,” Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok said. “He didn’t go down the gears and the car just stopped. It almost seemed like an electrical shutdown where the car has turned itself off.”

52 minutes to go: Ocon isn’t happy with his Alpine

Alpine are looking to fight back in 2024 to get back into regular points scoring positions after a disastrous start to the season saw them regress to the back of the grid.

Despite an encouraging sign in Miami last time out, Esteban Ocon isn’t quite happy with his Alpine car as he complains about the bouncing down the straight, which means that the floor is striking the track.

55 minutes to go: Verstappen’s flexing his form already

Whilst he isn’t the fastest man on track right now, Max Verstappen does like to make a point whenever someone beats him to a Grand Prix win and that’s what he does by laying down the law to Sergio Perez.

The Dutchman goes an entire second faster with a 1:20 around Imola on his first lap of the weekend.

GREEN FLAG: 60 minutes to go

Cars head out on track and the upgraded Ferrari machine is one of the first ones to do so as Carlos Sainz tests out the red car with a sense of purpose and urgency.

Fernando Alonso in his upgraded Aston Martin is also keen to get some data on how his car will behave as he looks to get back into the podium fight after a disappointing start to the season for Lawrence Stroll and Mike Krack’s team.

Oliver Bearman debuts in FP1 for Haas so what helmet will he be wearing?

Haas will become the second team Bearman has drove for in 2024 after his debut with Ferrari at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP, so what kind of helmet will he wear in Imola?

Can we expect rain at Imola after Thursday’s downpour?

As the drivers took to the track to run a lap in the memory of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, who died 30 years ago in 1994, the track began to torrentially rain as the heavens opened with grief at the loss of the talented F1 drivers.

Can we expect anymore rain throughout the weekend?

It’s very windy at Imola

The wind is billowing around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari which could mean that the famous track becomes very, very difficult to drive if the wind comes in gusts or comes horizontally when the cars turn.

Will we have any spinners? Someone beaching in the gravel? Maybe even the tyre barriers?

Major upgrades for Aston Martin and Ferrari

We head into this weekend wondering if Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team can be challenged by McLaren again, but can Ferrari take a big step forwards as they bring their first big upgrade package to 2024?

The Italian team aren’t the only ones either as Aston Martin will also bring a wave of updates to catapult them up to the grid, whilst Mercedes complete their upgrade package and Oscar Piastri will get McLaren’s Miami upgrade too.

Emilia Romagna GP 2024 Pirelli Tyre Info

Pirelli introduces the softest trio of dry tire compounds (C3, C4, and C5) at Imola for the first time, aiming to enhance strategy options in a race typically requiring just one pit stop. The circuit’s relatively abrasive asphalt and narrow layout, combined with a single DRS zone, make overtaking challenging, underscoring the importance of qualifying

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Emilia Romagna GP

Sky Sports F1 remains the home for live Formula 1 racing in the UK. The channel will provide comprehensive coverage of the Emilai Romagna GP, including practice, qualifying, and the race itself. Meanwhile, F1 fans in the USA can catch all the action across ESPN.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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